Peter McCarthy
Dad Was Right: Drink More Coffee. It's Good for You
Photo by Couleur on Pixabay / CCO Public Domain

My Dad was right about a lot of things, but the habit he ingrained in me that will pay the most dividends is drinking coffee. Lots of it. And not just to stay awake. Coffee, two big studies show, is good for you.

The first time I brought my fiancee to meet my family, Maureen made the mistake of telling my father that coffee was not healthy.

Dad, who had a coffee before breakfast every morning, several more through the day and one to calm his nerves before going to bed at night, scoffed, "Whoever told you that?"

Maureen and I never got married. How could I bring a non-coffee person into our devoted household?

Mom drank coffee too. Even when I was an adult, we'd sit up half the night, sharing life stories and sipping coffee like truth serum.

Some of us inherit wealth from our parents. I inherited coffee. It's a win.

Truth About Coffee is Finally Out

Pioneering truth tellers like my Dad are having their moment. What they knew in their hearts, science has finally caught up with.

As reported in the LA Times, studies of hundreds of thousands of people for more than fifteen years proves what smaller, briefer ones suggested: coffee drinking is associated with large, longterm health benefits.

It's even better than the first studies showed, and here's the real kicker: the more you drink, the greater the benefits.

Dad was right. Maureen was wrong. 'Nuff said.

In case I failed to mention it. Decaffeinated rewards drinkers with similar results, which tells us that those sparkling caffeine highs, like the one I'm having right now, are just a bonus that goes with the good health.

Benefits of Drinking Coffee

In a European study that tracked over half a million people for more than sixteen years, the Times reported, "the researchers found that the top 25% of coffee drinkers in each nation were less likely to die during the study period than their countrymen who shunned coffee altogether. After accounting for smoking, diet and other factors, the authors calculated that the risk of early death was 12% lower in men and 7% lower in women."

An all American team with researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the Universities of Southern California and Hawaii extracted data from 185,885 volunteers in the Multiethnic Cohort Study, with an average time in the study of a little over sixteen years.

Again, they proved Mom and Dad right.

The Times reports, "Compared with the 16% of people who didn’t drink coffee at all, those who downed two or more cups each day were about 18% less likely to have died during the study period. In addition, those who drank just one to six cups of coffee per week were 12% less likely to die. Both of these figures were calculated after taking into account known risk factors for early death."

They went farther: "The study authors also compared coffee drinking with each of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. (which combined to account for 81% of the 58,397 deaths that occurred during the study period). The more coffee one drank, the less likely he or she was to die of heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes or kidney disease."

To be scientifically correct, neither study proves that drinking coffee holds the secret to a long and healthy life, but it contradicts my once upon a time fiancee Maureen - Remember her? - showing that any ill effects are far outweighed by the positives.

Other, randomized studies will be needed to better understand factors behind the statistical correlation between coffee drinking and better health and to isolate components associated with it.

But for now, bottoms up on that espresso! Cheers to cappuccino!

Happy and healthy now, details later.